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Walt Disney acquires all of Indiagames in $80-100 mn deal

In what could be the biggest deal so far in India’s [ Images ] online gaming sector, The Walt Disney [ Images ] Company has acquired all the equity in UTV’s Indiagames for an estimated $80-100 million (Rs 390-490 crore), said industry sources.

Indiagames is a leading developer and publisher of mobile and online games.

Earlier this year, Walt Disney had announced the acquisition of UTV Software Communications [ Get Quote ] for Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion).

However, UTV had only 58 per cent stake in Indiagames. Another 42 per cent was held by its founder and promoter, Vishal Gondal, and investors such as Cisco Systems, Adobe and others.

Repeated attempts to get in touch with UTV Software Communications and Indiagames failed. Vishal Gondal, chief executive officer of Indiagames, could not be reached over phone.

However, sources close to the development confirmed the stake sale to Business Standard.

“Walt Disney had acquired the other 42 per cent from the investors of Indiagames and Vishal Gondal,” said a senior official.

Indiagames, founded in 1999, is one of the earliest Indian companies in the mobile and online gaming segment. It had revenue of Rs 54.5 crore (Rs 545 million) last year, with Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) profit.

UTV had purchased Indiagames in 2006 for Rs 68 crore (Rs 68 million).

Indiagames has a market share of around 50 per cent, say experts. According to the Ficci-KPMG 2010 report, the mobile gaming market was expected to be Rs 240 crore (Rs 2.4 billion) in 2010 and a Rs 1,430-crore (Rs 14.3 billion) market by 2014.

The personal computer and online gaming market is expected to grow at 37.8 per cent annually from 2009 to 2014, with revenue of Rs 610 crore (Rs 6.1 billion) by the latter year.

Earlier this year, when Walt Disney announced it was taking over UTV Software, it was already a majority shareholder, with 20,497,994 equity shares, accounting for a 50.44 per cent stake.

Before Walt Disney bought UTV Software, there were reports suggesting Gondal and the other investors were in talks with UTV to purchase stake.

It was also reported that they were trying to raise funds for doing so from both a private equity consortium and strategic investors.

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